Dubai: This is how Dubai can bring the world together in perfect harmony.
In the lead up to the UAE’s celebrations of the 47th National Day, Expo 2020 organised an orchestral performance with musicians representing almost 190 nations – representing the number of countries participating in the event.
The orchestral performance of the national anthem Ishy Bilady, which means ‘Long Live My Country’ – also includes seven Emirati musicians, symbolising each of the UAE’s emirates.
Dr Hayat Shamsuddin, vice president of arts and culture at the department of content and programming for Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Watching this beautiful rendition of our national anthem was so moving. Nayla Al Khaja has captured the spirit of tolerance and unity that exists in the UAE, where more than 200 nationalities live in perfect harmony.
The video, which was shot in the Dubai desert, was uploaded on social networking sites, and was accompanied with the caption: “Reflecting almost half a century of national progress, this stirring orchestral rendition also coincides with the Year of Zayed”.
“This year’s UAE National Day carries additional significance, given that 2018 also marks 100 years since the birth of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. We wanted to create something special and impactful that honours our founding father and showcases the welcoming nature of the UAE. This production is a wonderfully fitting ode to our great nation,” said Dr Shamsuddin.
The two-and-a-half minute video was filmed by the UAE’s first female director, Nayla Al Khaja, which captures the nation’s spirit of collaboration, as well as the warm hospitality that will be on show when Expo 2020 welcomes the world to the UAE in less than two years.
“This number surpasses the 180-nation commitment set out in Dubai’s successful 2013 bid to host the World Expo in 2020,” said organisers in a statement.
The video begins with a shot of the beautiful Dubai desert landscape where, nestled between the dunes, sits an empty stage. The seven Emirati musicians take their position before being joined onstage by a choir made up of a diverse group of people from across the UAE, and the rest of the orchestra, who begin to tune their instruments.
The orchestra then performs a stirring rendition of Ishy Bilady, while an Emirati Expo 2020 volunteer presents the lyrics of the national anthem in sign language.
Nayla Al Khaja said: “The film was on a completely different scale than anything I’ve ever worked on. The sheer size of the production was astounding. I absolutely loved the challenge.
“I managed and directed around 190 musicians, and watched three camera set-ups simultaneously to make sure we captured all the right shots. This experience was the most fun I have had on a project. I’m grateful to Expo 2020 for trusting me and giving me this opportunity to direct a rendition of the UAE national anthem.”
What are World Expos?
The first World Expo was held in 1851, where the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition.
The expo celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress.
In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.
World Expos are held under the patronages of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation.
Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s sponsorship: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.